A museum’s artworks and artefacts are usually the stars of an exhibition, captivating the attention of visitors on specially-lit walls and showcases. But who takes care of them and what happens to them when they are not on display or when they are in need of repairs? The National Heritage Board’s (NHB) new exhibition will unveil the secrets behind heritage conservation.

The World of Heritage Conservation: Sneak Peeks into Safeguarding Singapore’s National Collection, is a new travelling exhibition that brings visitors into the often unseen world of the conservators at the Heritage Conservation Centre (HCC). The exhibition not only features case studies of how items in the National Collection are conserved but also the individuals who care for these treasures.

Heritage Conservation

Divided into four fields – paintings, textiles, objects, and paper – alongside displays of a conservator’s tools of trade, the interactive exhibition demonstrates how the centre conserves and maintains these precious artefacts.

Preserving History

Every item in our National Collection tells a story, which is part of Singapore’s larger history. As their entrusted custodians, the Heritage Conservation Centre has a responsibility to care for them so that Singaporeans now and in the future can continue to enjoy and learn from them,” explains Ms Ong Chiew Yen, Director, HCC.

The exhibition, which took 10 months to put together, also profiles four of HCC’s conservators, each specialising in one of the four conservation fields, to demonstrate the process of interventive and preventive work on artwork and artefacts in our National Collection.

Four artefacts are highlighted in the case studies of the exhibition. This includes a 19th-century painting of an opium clipper at sea against the backdrop of the Singapore waterfront. There is also an orange floral lace cheongsam from the mid-20th century.

Heritage Conservation nhb

The exhibit also includes a toothbrush used by a prisoner of war during the Japanese Occupation and a panorama of Singapore’s cityscape, which was hand-drawn on paper from memory.

The World of Heritage Conservation: Sneak Peeks into Safeguarding Singapore’s National Collection will be on display at the Central Public Library until 30 September. It will also travel to different locations across the island in the months ahead.

Look out for it at Bishan Public Library in October, Jurong West Public Library in November, and Marine Parade Public Library in December. For more information click here.

(Images: National Heritage Board)

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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